Hurting Victims’ Advocates

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, has played a critical role in making public the horrific crimes of pedophile priests and holding the Roman Catholic Church accountable for the crimes. Now the church is using a tactic that could cripple SNAP by embroiling it in costly litigation in which it is not a party.

As Laurie Goodstein wrote in The Times on Tuesday, lawyers for the church and priests accused of sex abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel SNAP to hand over two decades’ worth of e-mails and a huge amount of private correspondence with victims, lawyers, witnesses, reporters, prosecutors and the police.

The group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months and its national director, David Clohessy, deposed in the Kansas City, Mo., case. SNAP says it has incurred about $50,000 in legal fees and devoted hundreds of hours of staff time since the subpoenas began. This is a strange level of interest since SNAP is not involved in either case and Mr. Clohessy has sworn that he has had no cont...

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